Unlike the rest of the country, the best time to hike is just starting in southern California. This hike starts from the Westridge Trailhead in Pacific Palisades then leads you to Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park.
As we do this hike every winter, photos used in the post are collected from multiple hikes.
Dogs are allowed off-leash as long as they are under your control. Nearby Topanga Canyon doesn’t allow dogs so it makes this hike popular among dog owners even more. The trailhead is at the end of Westridge Road. The dirt parking lot at the trailhead is tiny but no worries. Plenty of free street parking is always available.
Most people stay on the W Mandeville Fire Road which has a gradual incline. I like the fire road for trail running for that reason. I recommend hiking the W Mandeville Ridge Trail by tackling the hills to the Nike missile site. It’s less crowded, definitely more challenging and it offers a better view.
Everyone we met (including the dogs) was friendly. However, some owners did not clean up after their dogs. Dog ownership comes with responsibilities. Please pick up after your dogs.
It’s about 3.5 miles to the old Nike missile site from the trailhead.
From 1956-1968, San Vicente Mountain was one of sixteen Los Angeles area Nike-Ajax supersonic anti-aircraft missile launch sites. If you find this interesting, click on the “old Nike missile site” link for more details.
Bathroom facility and picnic tables are available at the site so don’t forget to pack your snacks. Make sure to bring plenty of water for you and your dog! This hike is exposed the entire time.
Good to Know:
- Distance: 7.2 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 748 feet
- Trailhead Coordinates: 34.085487, -118.509022
- Flush toilets and picnic tables available at the Nike Missile site
- Notable: wildflowers, a historic site, off-leash, no shade, mountain bikers